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Every season of Survivor shows contestants fighting it out for food. One of those awards is a large pizza order. But past winners have let it slip that it’s not the best food reward for an interesting reason.

‘Survivor’ contestants are usually hungry throughout the season

Every season contestants are left to fend for themselves. They have to make their own shelter, build a fire, and find food.

If they don’t win challenges that means contestants are usually hungry. They might find fruit around their camp, creatures from the water, and they have a bag of rice to share to eat for 39 days.

They can get supplies by winning challenges as a tribe in the beginning. Flint, chickens, pillows, fishing gear and food have been offered as early rewards in multiple seasons. Pizza has also been a reward, but apparently it’s not a good one.

The contestants have complained about the pizza

Rob Mariano and Tom Buchanan with their family members on 'Survivor'
Rob Mariano and Tom Buchanan with their family members on ‘Survivor’ | Monty Brinton/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

There are multiple food rewards offered to the winners of competitions throughout each season. One of them is the opportunity to eat pizza, but some of the players admitted it doesn’t taste that great.

“The worst thing about the food that you get in a reward is when it’s Fijian pizza, which doesn’t come anything close to what we know as pizza in the States,” David Wright from from Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X and Survivor: Edge of Extinction told The Ringer. “I remember I was offered to sit out of a challenge for pizza and beer. It was an easy decision to not sit out because it’s just not appetizing at all.”

Malcolm Freberg from Survivor: Philippines, Survivor: Caramoan, and Survivor: Game Changers agreed. “It’s actually made of cardboard. There’s no flavor, there’s no sauce, the cheese. … Everything about it was horrid,” he said.

There is also another downside to the food rewards. You might be so hungry that you eat too much and make yourself sick. So contestants don’t always get to enjoy it.

Jeff Probst talked about that ‘eat or play’ twist


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Producers are very aware how hungry the cast gets so later in the season they include a twist. Players could play a challenge to fight for immunity, or they can sit and eat. Host, Jeff Probst talked to Entertainment Weekly about why it can be smart to sit out.

He said “sitting out is probably a very wise move. You are calculating the risk of giving up immunity against the slight odds of you winning it in the first place and then contrasting that with the certainty of food.”

It’s also been said that eating could be a part of someone’s strategy. A fed player could have more fuel in the tank for the next part of the game.